Menu

For those of us trying to pay off student loans while simultaneously paying for childcare and saving for our children's future college tuition, this is hardly a surprise, but a recent report by Axios illustrates a troubling truth: Life has changed for Americans aged 25 to 34, and not in a good way.

The Motherly team has said this before: It really is harder to get by these days, and the data graphed by Axios shows it's just simple math. While the line for median income is straight across from 1977 to 2016, the graph for the cost of college increases steeply, and our debt is now a treacherous mountain range.

The report also dives into the reasons why this generation is having fewer children than our predecessors.

"Millennials are more risk averse than earlier generations at the same age. People 50 or even 25 years ago didn't wait to be 'financially well established' before starting a family. Now it's considered irresponsible not to," Richard Jackson the president of the Global Aging Institute, told Axios.

The data echoes the results of a recent Morning Consult survey by the New York Times: Financial concerns are a huge factor for millennials when it comes to having kids. Student debt was a factor for 13% of those who decided not to have kids at all, and for those who did have kids, but not as many as they would like, 43% said they "waited too long because of financial instability." Further, 64% said their family is smaller than what they would consider ideal because childcare is just too expensive.

With incomes flatlining while debt and education costs grow, more and more families need two incomes to make ends meet, which means childcare is an expense that many just can't cut from the monthly budget. This is another way in which our generation's reality differs from those who came before. According to the Pew Research Center, in 1975 less than half of mothers were working. By 2000, 73% of moms were.

We need childcare, but that's another line that just keep climbing. A recent survey by Care.com found 60% of parents report their child care costs have increased in the past year, and "the average weekly rate for a nanny has risen over $100 since 2013." In 2013, the average weekly rate for child care center in the U.S. was $186. In 2017, that number shot up to $211.

Is it any wonder with all these costs rising and our incomes not that the rate of homeownership is down compared to previous generations?

As Motherly's Senior News Writer, Emily Glover, previously wrote, "That's yet another goal that is simply harder to obtain today."

"As United States Census Bureau data shows, the median home price in America in 1940 was $2,930. Adjusted for inflation, that should have been just over $30,000 by 2000. Instead it was $119,000—which jumped to close to $200,000 by 2017."

There's no way around it, all these reports, polls, data points and graphs paint a pretty dismal picture of the thirty-something life as a millennial. But what the lines don't show is that we are a resilient, resourceful generation that is incredibly invested in making things better for the next generation.

Millennial dads may not have the same earning potential as their dads did, but they're spending more time with their kids, and that's something to celebrate.

And despite all the concerns about how we're blowing all our money on guac and Netflix, millennial parents are actually pretty great with money (because we kind of have to be).

And 99% of us really love being parents, even though 88% of us agree it's harder for us than it was for our parents.

Yes, it's hard out there mamas, but it's so worth it. Love is a lot harder to graph, but it may change how these lines look 30 years from now.

You might also like:

Happy half-birthday! Can you believe it was only six months ago that your baby's schedule consisted of just sleeping and eating? Now, your happy buddy is probably working on a whole new repertoire of skills.

Although the cake will have to wait, this milestone can be celebrated with your baby's first bites of solid food. Just be sure to keep the camera ready as your little one gets more mashed avocado on their face than in their mouth.

Now that they're ready to sit in a high chair, it's time to envision all of the family meals to come. This makes right now a great time to start thinking about the dinner rituals you hope to create… and upgrade your dining space to match those dreams.

As you round the corner on your little one's first year, here's what we suggest adding to the shopping list:

Never fear the messy bites: Cloud Island bibs

Cloud Island Bibs

It's a pretty successful meal if approximately half of the food ends up in your 6-month-old's mouth. Make sure the other half doesn't end up on their clothes by stocking up on bibs that are easy to wash.

$9.99

Make room at the table: Graco Floor2Table high chair

Graco High Chair

Feeding your baby requires your full attention, so it's generally best to do it before or after your own mealtime. But it's still nice to include your baby at family dinner with their own seat at the table. It won't be long before they ask you to pass the mashed potatoes!

$149.99

For those first bites of “real food”  Beaba training spoons

Beaba

After a lifetime of only drinking from a bottle and/or breast, eating from a utensil has to feel like a major adjustment. Help your baby warm up to this new way of eating with a supply of baby-sized spoons.

$19.00

For mastering the art of baby food prep: Baby Brezza food processor

Baby Brezza

Good news: There are no advanced culinary skills required to make baby food. By steaming and pureeing their first meals, you can take charge of what foods and flavors you introduce.

$99.99

For last-minute mealtime: Happy Baby pouches

Happy Baby

Let's be honest: It can feel miraculous to get one meal on the table, let alone two separate ones. When you want or need a simpler option, it's nice to have a stockpile of convenient, healthy baby food pouches.

$6.49

For the splatter zone: Bumpkins splat mat

Bumpkins splat mat

As your baby begins eating, prepare to be amazed by all of the places you'll find traces of pureed sweet potatoes. This makes it a perfect time to swap out your dining room rug for an easy-to-clean option.

$19.39

For easy family meals: Instant Pot Duo Nova

Instant pot

When there are only so many hours in the day, the less time you can spend cooking and cleaning up afterward the better. There's a reason this is called an 'instant' pot—it'll free up so much precious time for you to spend with your family.

$119.99

For greenery without the commitment: Project 62 artificial plant

Project 62

We love including greenery in our home decor, but when you're busy enough keeping the people in your house alive, the last thing you need is a houseplant to water. Thankfully, today's faux plant options look so convincing that no one will know the difference.

$7.99

For counting all those steps: Fitbit Inspire activity tracker

Fit bit

Between walking and lifting that growing babe, you've been exercising this whole time without even realizing it, mama! Give yourself a boost of confidence by realizing how much movement you clock on a daily basis.

$99.95

For nighttime reading: Threshold table lamp 

threshold lamp

After months of tip-toeing around your own bedroom so you don't wake a sleeping baby, it's slightly thrilling to reclaim the space as your baby transitions to their own bedroom. This is a perfect time to start a new bedtime reading routine—complete with a stylish bedside lamp.

$44.99

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play